How to Support the victims of Domestic Abuse?

There are more than 10 million domestic violence and abuse victims each year – by the time you finish the sentence, at least one woman has been assaulted. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that domestic violence is a plague that knows no bounds.  Physical abuse is prevalent in all demographics, from those below the poverty line to the million-dollar faces we all adore.

And while domestic violence has no racial or economic bounds, according to VeryWell, research seems to show that black women are most likely to experience domestic violence, followed by Hispanics and then whites, with Asians the least likely to endure domestic violence. And while black and Hispanic women have been shown to be more likely to report domestic violence, those who fear deportation might be less likely to report their abuser. Making a horrendous situation even worse.

Every day, however, there are plenty of women who are able to free themselves from domestic abuse. But it doesn’t end there. Women of domestic violence often experience symptoms of trauma long after escape. They need a loving, supportive, and understanding network to help them regain their confidence. Understandably, it’s difficult to know what to say or do to help a loved one circumvent further crisis after ending an abusive relationship. Here are a few things you can do to help a woman during her transition from victim to victor.

Lend a listening ear. Having the opportunity to talk about the situation to a non-threatening and sympathetic friend is cathartic. Sometimes, the abused may not be fully convinced of the gravity of their former situation and may need to hear themselves say it out loud. Listen attentively, but don’t push for details. She will open up in her own time.

Help her find a qualified therapist. As much as you can listen, your friend will need much more emotional support than you can provide. Help her find a therapist who is experienced in helping people heal after an abusive relationship. In addition to individual therapy, you can point her in the direction of local support groups, where she can discuss her situation with others in the same boat. This is all the more important if substance abuse is a factor (as it often is in these situations). This may help her realize that she is not alone and overcome lingering feelings of guilt or grief that she associates with the relationship. Mental Health America offers a list of specialized support groups on its website.

Be specific in your offers of help. Your friend may not know what she needs as her mind is still swimming with fear and apprehension. Avoid vague statements such as, “Call me if you need anything.” Instead, pay attention to her environment and social or verbal cues. If she has children, you might, for instance, offer to take the kids out for ice cream so that she can have a moment alone. Set up a schedule with other close friends and family that know about the situation to provide meals and transportation.

Encourage her to pursue her passions. Lots women find comfort in their hobbies. And since many victims of domestic violence are denied any form of happiness by their abuser, it is more important now than ever that your friend do something strictly for herself. Drawing, painting, and other forms of self-expression may help her refocus her priorities while offering a temporary respite from her emotional anguish.

Provide her with alternative therapy options. The National Center for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder reports that acupuncture, meditation, and relaxation exercises are viable ways to supplement trauma recover. Animal therapy is another proven technique to overcome depression, which is often triggered by domestic violence. Dogs are especially effective companions for women who may not be quite ready to talk about their experiences but need comfort and unconditional love. Health Fitness Revolution magazine asserts that having access to a service animal can provide anxiety relief, encourage communication, and has a number of overall positive psychological benefits.

Don’t insist that she start dating. Domestic violence leaves an emotional scar that can make it difficult for victims to open their hearts once again. Avoid the temptation to set your finally-free friend up; she will begin dating in her own time. Codependency and domestic violence often go hand-in-hand, according to Darlene Lancer, a marriage and family therapist and author of Conquering Shame and Codependency. You should encourage her to learn how to depend on herself before pursuing new love interests.

In conclusion, the most important things you can do for a victim of domestic violence is be there for support and help her explore this new chapter in her life.

 The article has been contributed by Nora Hood. She can be contacted via her email nora@threedaily.org 

 

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Attacks on Minorities in Pakistan and Egypt

Press Statement

Global Minorities Alliance’s Chief Executive, Manassi Bernard expressed his concerns on the recent attacks on the state of Ahmadiyya Muslim community in Pakistan and Coptic Christians in Egypt that are routinely targeted due to their faith.

Speaking from Glasgow he added:

‘We are deeply concerned about the plight of Ahmadiyya Muslim community in Pakistan (whose motto love for all hatred for none) continues to face persecution almost every day because of their faith. He further condemned the recent raid on the Ahmadiyya publication office in Rabwah, Punjab where members of community were harassed, beaten and arrested by Pakistan’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD)

He also demanded that, ‘Pakistan must repeal its discriminatory laws which restrict the community to profess or propagate their faith. Instead of abusing the terror laws against the peaceful section of its own population, the state must invest its commitment to the National Action Plan (NAP) to stop hate speech which hurts religious freedom in Pakistan’.

Commenting on the recent bomb attack in Coptic Christian Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt Mr Bernard expressed his solidarity to the Coptic Community in Egypt that are often targeted by Islamists extremists.

Mr Bernard said, ‘Coptic Christians have suffered decades long persecution where attacks on Churches, targeted killings of Coptic Christians and blasphemy related cases against the community have become a commonplace. We call upon President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi that this attack on innocent and vulnerable worshipers should be investigated and culprits must be brought to justice as soon as possible.’

 

GMA Media Team

#NeverAgain: Justice for Iraqi Christians is long overdue

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Photo Credit: Ewelina Ochab

By Ewelina Ochab

In November I visited Iraq where I met Iraqi Christian internally displaced persons living in Erbil. I met with a number of families from Mosul, Quaragosh, Karamless, and Bartallah that have fled Daesh. I also met with several NGOs helping Christians in the Middle East, including SOS Chretiens, a number of NGOs collecting the evidence of the Daesh atrocities, including Shlomo and Hammurabi Human Rights Organisations, and a number of religious leaders.  Lastly, I visited some of the liberated areas: Quaragosh, Karamless, and Bartallah.

After Daesh took over Ninevah Plains in August 2014, the Iraqi Christians have fled to Erbil and other parts of Kurdistan. Hundreds of Iraqi Christians have left the region for Jordan, Lebanon, and other countries. However, there are still many internally displaced Iraqi Christians living in Kurdistan. There are four camps for Iraqi Christians in Erbil. Families live there in small metal containers. They are provided with some humanitarian assistance. They are reasonably safe. However, many families continue to leave every day.

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        Photo Credit: Ewelina Ochab

Those who stayed the last two years and three months still hope that they would be able to go back to their homes. However, I have seen their homes in Ninevah Plains and it seems that they will not be able to return anytime soon. The three towns I managed to visit: Quaragosh, Bartallah, and Karamless are destroyed. Daesh looted one house after another without leaving any stone unturned. The houses, churches, schools, and shops are looted, burnt down, and some contractually damaged. In every church that I have visited: crosses are broken, the statutes of Jesus and Holly Mary are destroyed, Holly Bibles and books burnt (see: speakupagainstgenocide.wordpress.com/blog/) . These pictures from the recently liberated areas send one and very clear message – Daesh specifically intended to destroy Christianity in the area and everything that Christianity is associated with. This is genocide.

It’s been over four weeks since some of the towns in Ninevah Plains have been liberated, however, there is still a lot of work before people will be able to go back and start rebuilding their lives. The Ninevah Plains Units are checking houses for explosives and Daesh tunnels, and making the safe houses. Some of the houses destroyed by Daesh would need to be checked whether their construction is safe and sound for people to live in. The Daesh tunnels would have to be sealed off. The list of necessary works goes on.

However, Ninevah Plains needs more than only reconstruction of the towns.  The persecuted minorities in Ninevah Plains need a guarantee that the atrocities committed by Daesh will never happen again. They need a guarantee that they will be safe in their homes and will not have to flee in the middle of the night yet again. They also need justice. Recognising the atrocities committed against Christians, Yazidis, and other minorities in Syria and Iraq as genocide is the first step towards the adequate administration of justice, reconciliation, and healing. The Daesh fighters must be prosecuted for their crimes amounting to genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. The victims deserve justice and this justice is long overdue.

Ewelina Ochab serves as a legal counsel in Vienna, Austria for ADF International. Her interests include persecution of Christians worldwide, ISIS/Daesh genocide in Syria and Iraq, Boko Haram in West Africa and minorities in South Asia. She has presented reports in the United Nations Forum on Minority rights. Ewelina obtained a LL.B degree with honours at Kent university, UK and currently is She is a PhD candidate in International Law and Medical Ethics.  She also published a book on ISIS/Daesh genocide ‘Never Again: Legal Responses to a Broken Promise in the Middle East’